Halo and Cross poised to clash

Celestial Halo and At Fishers Cross are set for round two in the Wessex Youth Trust Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.

The pair met at Newbury in the Long Distance Hurdle last month, with Rebecca Curtis' At Fishers Cross sent off the odds-on favourite but he was making heavy weather of it when a mistake at the second-last cost him all chance and he trailed home last of the four runners.

Celestial Halo, trained by Paul Nicholls in the colours of Big Buck's, took his career earnings to over 660,000 with that success but he is without a Grade One win over timber since his Triumph Hurdle win in 2008.

Nicholls could also step Salubrious up in class.

Reve De Sivola won the Long Walk 12 months ago and is likely to bid for a repeat but he was some way behind Celestial Halo at Newbury, as was Medinas, another possible for Alan King.

David Pipe has left in Grands Crus, who has failed to run up to form since a bold display in the King George almost a year ago.

The Paul Webber-trained Time For Rupert is another looking to return to former glories and will be making his return after over 400 days off.

Gordon Elliott's Mala Beach is the sole Irish possible after Willie Mullins took out the likes of Zaidpour, Diakali and Thousand Stars.

Tom Symonds' mare Tweedledrum completes the list of nine remaining entries.